Mike Petrilli interviews me about On the Rocketship. To promote the interview, he asks whether my new book is a “puff piece” on charter schools — a complaint I heard often about The Bee Eater, a book about Michelle Rhee’s time here in D.C. Rhee’s strong reforms generated many enemies, so that reaction was not unexpected. Any book that fell short of declaring her to be a witch would trigger that complaint. In short, I concluded that Rhee’s reforms were on target. Now, with the benefit of hindsight (and the unlikely development that Mayor Gray would retain Kaya Henderson and all the Rhee reforms), we know: Federal NAEP data shows D.C. students, thanks to those reforms, making the fastest progress in the nation, compared to similar urban students.
Is that progress sufficient? No, which is one reason I was attracted to the topic of high performing charters. Can they do better? I conclude they can.